23 June 1934
|Director: Charley Rogers Producer: Hal Roach
Cinematography: Francis Corby Editor: Bert Jordan Sound recording: Harry Baker
|AVAILABLE ON DVD|
|A courtroom is in session and about to conclude when the judge (Harry Dunkinson) asks the foreman to read his official verdict on the case in question. The verdict: GUILTY. Before he passes the maximum sentence possible to the defendant, Butch (Walter Long), the judge applauds the co-operation of the two witnesses who helped bring him to justice - Laurel and Hardy. After the sentence is heard (life imprisonment) Stan questions the judge as to why he didn't consider hanging him. Butch is not impressed with this suggestion and threatens that if he ever catches up with the boys he will break off their arms and wrap them around their necks. Ollie laughs the suggestion off, which infuriates Butch and the courtroom scrambles away in the resulting chaos.
Outside the boys have made it to their car and are stopped by an acquaintance of Butch who warns them to get out of town as soon as possible. Ollie expresses his concerns to Stan and the two agree they will put a plan into action and see if they can advertise someone to go with them to help pay for gas. Ollie starts the engine but the car won't move. For a few moments they rock backwards and forwards in an attempt to motion the car into action until Stan remembers he has placed a weighted disc under the front wheel as a brake before removing it.
|At their apartment Ollie is polishing his shoes and singing merrily when Stan pushes the door open into Ollie's legs and send him head-first through the bedstand, closing his head in a trunk. Stan gets behind him and pulls him free (well, in a fashion), taking with him the stand and both falling out through the door. When Ollie returns to the room he slams the door shut and dislodges the panel above it, which falls down onto his head.
Stan has the newspaper in his hand in which their advert is placed so Ollie asks him to read it. Stan puts the paper down on the chair and fetches his glasses before sitting back down on the paper. He goes to read the paper but obviously cannot find it. When he does find it there is not enough light for him to read, so he puts his glasses on the chair and switches on an overhead lamp before sitting back down - on the glasses. Ollie tells him it serves him right but then Stan realises why he couldn't read with them in the first place - because the glasses belong to Ollie! Ollie snatches the paper from Stan and begins to read it for himself. Afterwards Stan asks for his opinion. Ollie sarcastically replies "It's very nice; brief - and right to the point!" before throwing the paper at Stan.
Stan begins packing the cooking utensils when he unknowingly dislodges a razorblade from the shelf which falls into a cleaning brush. The telephone rings and Stan, holding a pint of milk, answers it. A woman (Mae Busch) is calling about the trip so Stan offers for her to speak to Ollie instead. Ollie comes to the phone and is handed the milk, which he mistakes for the receiver, and places it to his ear. His face and jacket are drenched in milk from the accident. Ollie excuses himself on the telephone and gives his jacket to Stan to clean before resuming the conversation. The woman is keen to leave right away so Ollie agrees to come and get her. The call ends and Ollie puts on his jacket, which Stan has been brushing, only to discover it is ripped to shreds from the unseen blade in the brush.
The second half of the film begins with the newspaper article revealing that Butch Long has escaped from prison. As Mae Busch prepares for the boys' arrival, Butch arrives at her apartment first - via the window. He tells her that he escaped so he could exact his revenge on the two men who "opened their traps too wide". The doorbell rings and Mae quickly escorts Long into the bedroom and gets him to hide inside a large trunk.
|Out in the hallway Ollie has grown a little tired of Stan's repeated ringing of the doorbell and takes over himself. One ring and Ollie gets his chubby digit stuck in the hole. The bell rings for an eternity before finally exploding. Inside the apartment the boys introduced themselves but tell the woman they have to leave urgently as they are trying to evade a dangerous man. She assures them they will be safe with her friend. What Stan and Ollie don't realise of course is the guy they are trying to get away from is the same person she is referring to. Mae goes into the bedroom and tells Butch that it is ok to come out from the trunk and meet the two men but he finds himself locked in. She makes a plea to the boys for some keys to unlock the trunk, explaining what has happened. All three go into the bedroom and Ollie takes a hammer to the trunk, smashing hard on its lock. Butch requests that Mae go to his friend Jerry's house to help out, so she leaves them alone with Butch and the trunk. When Butch complains about having no air Stan has the decency to open a window, thinking that would make a big difference! When this fails to work Ollie comes up with the idea of drilling holes in the trunk to let some air in. Stan gets up and bores the first hole through the top straight into Butch's backside. A second hole goes in through the side, which pierces Ollie's rear on the opposite side.
Upon Mae's arrival at Jerry's building she is apprehended by a cop, who takes her away. Back at her apartment, the boys continue to take turns in freeing Butch from the trunk.
Thanks to the holes already drilled he is able to peek through from inside to see Ollie sitting in the armchair. When Butch realises these are the men he is after he comes up with an urgent plan to get the lock off - melt it with a blowtorch. Stan lights the blowtorch at the exact point where the flame penetrates one of the holes they had made in the trunk, which sets fire to Butch's rear-end. The sudden blast of flame sends the trunk sky-high as the room caves in around them from the explosion. As Butch cries out in agory, the boys rush out into the corridor and grab a fire hose to extinguish the flames. By the time they return to the bedroom Butch has escaped from the trunk and waiting for them behind the door. Stan and Ollie rush into the adjoining room to escape when they realise who the man is. A series of banging and crashing follows as the cops rush into the apartment and drag Butch out. The final scene reveals that Butch's courtroom threat has been realised, as the boys sit with their legs wrapped around their necks on a sofa.
Mae Busch asks Ollie if he has any keys. When Ollie questions her as to why, she tells him that her friend locked himself in a trunk and cannot get out. "He was packing and accidentally fell in!" Ollie turns to Stan, who comes out with "It could happen!"
•The facade of the courthouse was the same one used in the earlier short County Hospital.
•Production L-18 - Laurel & Hardy series.
•Filmed around May 21-26, 1934.
•Copyrighted June 20, 1934.
Did you notice?
•In the opening sequence a total of 50 people are seen:
14 walk from right to left,
9 walk from left to right,
19 walk into the building,
7 come out of the building,
and 1 police officer stationed outside = 50.
•There is an emblem on the side of the trunk which is on the bed (the one Ollie gets his head stuck in). It has the number 77 on it.
•The advert placed in the newspaper reads:
"To whom it may concern, two young gentlemen who are making a motor trip east would like for someone else to drive and also pay expenses, like when we came out here. Phone Maine 489. Sincerely yours, Mr. Laurel and Mr. Hardy. PS. Those not interested do not answer."
•In the scene where Stan answers the phone Ollie asks who it is. Stan turns away from the camera to tell him it is a lady about the trip. In this moment it is clear that Stan was not speaking into a microphone (for filming purposes) as his voice is noticably dimmed.
•The newspaper which prints the headline "Butch Long Escapes - Jumps from train on way to prison" is the Los Angeles Chronicle.
•The trunk in which Walter Long hides has a sticker on the side of it which reads "Hotel Bristol".
•When the boys arrive at Mae Busch's apartment Stan rings the doorbell 7 times. Ollie rings it once before his finger gets stuck. This single ring lasts for exactly 30 seconds.
•Mae Busch lives in apartment 4.
•The doorbell has the insignia 'Signal' on it.
•During the course of the film Stan and Ollie exchange the flowers a total of 16 times. Also, it's interesting to observe that at no point are the flowers set down - someone is always holding them!
•Being complete strangers in her apartment, Mae Busch leaves the boys to fetch Butch's friend. Given that Butch is locked inside the trunk, it is a perfect opportunity for Stan and Ollie to rob her blind, don't you think?
•Jerry, Butch's friend, lives in Arm's Apartments, which is located at 7905.
•It takes six policemen to get Walter Long out of the apartment.
Mae, Butch's girlfriend
Man with warning
Man in courtroom
Man in courtroom
Man in courtroom
Man in courtroom
Cop in Apartment building
Laurel And Hardy - The Magic Behind The Movies" by Randy Skretvedt (book)
This page was last updated on: 18 AUgust 2017